Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Couple More Christmas Photos

Above: Eddie Kleppel, with Colin on his shoulders, and Julia Coughlin Kleppel.

That's not really Colin's beer! Emily in background.

Froehliche Weihnachten von der Coughlin-Kleppel-Homan Familie!

Bob's Christmas presents, a hiking stick and a new jacket.

Euclid as a Summer Lake Resort

In today's Plain Dealer there was a story about Euclid in the late 1890s as a kind of summer getaway resort for Clevelanders [also on at this address:]. When the Shore inter-urban train came to Euclid around 1898, so did the summer tourists. Initially they would rent tent platforms in the Moss Point area of Euclid (that's near where E. 222 meets the Lake--the site of a sewage plant now as well as Euclid Park). A few years later people began to build summer cottages--many of which are still visible in Euclid. [more coming]

The Opposite of a Christmas Story in Mentor

A homeless man has been jailed by the city of Mentor over Christmas. His suitcase was found Saturday morning in front of the Barnes and Noble store. Authorities were afraid it was a bomb and it was removed by the Lake County Bomb Unit, who fired two shots into it. They blasted dirty underwear and clothing.

Kevin Striley, age 43 from Mason, Ohio, is in jail because the homeless man could not post a $102,000 cash bond--as set by Judge John Trebets. I couldn't meet a bond like that!

Two thousand years ago a young couple traveled from the region of Galilee to a village just south of Jerusalem--called Bethlehem. There was no room at the inn for them, even though the young woman was nine months pregnant. Her baby was born in a stable, a manger, a place where animals ate and took shelter. This baby, whom we Christians celebrate as the Savior of the World, knew homelessness from his first moment.

I don't know exactly what the Mentor authorities should have done. Maybe they put Kevin Striley in jail to give him a warm place to stay over Christmas and some regular meals. Maybe Mr. Striley needs psychiatric evaluation. I hope that Mentor officials didn't violate their Christian and human duty and heritage.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Few Christmas Photos

Top: Kevin Coughlin. Middle: Jim and Dillon Coughlin. Bottom: Darby, Jodi, and Quinn Coughlin.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More Family Photos: the Bowers/Bauer side

My Grandma, Cora Bowers, on her First Communion Day--probably in 1897. She's on the left in the photo above. This was professionally taken in Youngstown, Ohio. Her father. Frank Bowers, was born Frank Bauer in Pittsburgh. Most of his family stayed in Pittsburgh and retained the German spelling of their last name (many Bauer relatives still live there). At some point, Frank moved to Youngstown and changed the spelling of his last name--why I never heard. Frank married Mary Voelker and moved to Cleveland, where he worked as a bridge engineer (he was an important engineer on the Detroit-Superior bridge crossing the Cuyahoga River valley in Cleveland. The bridge has linked the east and west sides of Cleveland for about a 100 years now. My Grandma, whom I loved very much, lived from 1889 to 1980, and is buried in All Souls Cemetery in Chardon, Ohio.

The two Bowers sisters, Cora Bowers Coughlin and Edna Bowers Rosenfelder, at Maryknoll near Ossining, New York, where their brother, Larry Bowers, was a Maryknoll missioner. Brother Larry served earlier in his career in China.

Cora Bowers Coughlin, Brother Larry Bowers MM, and Edna Bowers Rosenfelder. This photo was taken at Uncle Bill and Aunt Kay's house in Willowick, Ohio. Uncle Larry came home every August--when the wild cherries ripened on the trees (that's the association I made as a young kid). I think this photo might have been from the early to mid 1960's.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Some Older Family Photos

Top photo: Grampa Connie Coughlin (born 1891), Uncle Bill Coughlin (born 1923), with Jeannie and Jackie Coughlin. 1953, Willoughby, Ohio.

Middle photo: Al Fitzpatrick, Margaret Ann Coughlin Bernice Potter, Bob Coughlin, Nelson Potter, Linda Coughlin, Mrs. McHugh, Catherine Fitzpatrick. Circa 1980.

Bottom photo: Mary Finnegan Fitzpatrick, Mrs. McHugh, Bob Coughlin, Mary Zylowski. Circa 1980.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Solstice Poem

Winter Solstice

The chill creeps into the bones:
December 21 and sun gone long before 5 o’clock;
Huge gray clouds roll in off Lake Erie
Riding the Witch’s gale, spitting sleet and

Fears as real and as organized as the swirl
Of pin oak leaves down Lakeshore Boulevard.
This day, shaken by nameless fears,
Seems to last forever:

I wonder how I will get through the next minute,
And the minute after that,
And the minute after that,

Wonder if I can make it
Until hope returns

Until peace-which-surpasses-understanding,
As mysterious as winter solstice’s fear--
My heart standing still, turning cold,
My spirit abandoned--

Until peace returns like grace like unexpected


                        Robert M. Coughlin

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The End of the Iraq War

Today marks the end of the Iraq War. I remember so vividly the day it began. In America it was March 19, 2003, the feast of St. Joseph [it was March 20th in Iraq]. To me at the time, it seemed such a sacrilege to begin a war on this feast day. The war began with "Shock and Awe," a bombardment never seen before in the history of the world (or so it seemed to me as I watched it on television from about 6000 miles away).

And today, after more than 4400 dead Americans, uncountable dead Iraqis (the estimates vary wildly, from over 100,000 to a million), and tens of thousands of wounded, the war is over. I guess we won.

For about 13 months my family was on pins and needles as my niece, Michelle Zaremba, served with the Ohio National Guard in Iraq and Kuwait. Michelle led truck convoys across Iraq and was often in danger. On Easter of 2004 my niece was almost killed as an RPG shot through her cab windows. She and her co-driver were wounded in this attack, and her truck was incinerated (if I remember correctly, Michelle had 2 trucks burn up during her service there). I can't imagine the heat, dust, violence, fear--and yes, the camaraderie and heroism--that Michele and her colleagues encountered.

Michele and thousands of other soldiers brought home spiritual suffering from this war, PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She has had counseling and treatment for this and has handled it well. But not all returning soldiers have overcome PTSD. There have been suicides, many of them, and problems with alcohol and drugs. Three of my uncles were damaged by their service in World War II, when they hardly had a name for PTSD (in severe cases it was called "shell shock" back in those days). My uncles (Jack Coughlin and Dick and Don Fitzpatrick) never got treatment for their psychological pain.

So today I think of all the dead, wounded, and suffering--on all sides--and hope that a just peace comes to Iraq. 

Bring peace to this broken world, O Lord!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Coughlin/Kleppel Family Photo

Coughlin/Kleppel Family photo, taken in Fall of 2011 at the Great Lakes Brewery in Cleveland. Linda, Emily, Carolan, Bob holding Colin Jude Kleppel, Ed Kleppel, Julia Coughlin Kleppel.

Lord of All Hopefulness and Margaret Ann's Passing 8 Years Ago

Lord of All Hopefulness
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy,
be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,
your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,
be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Passing of Dick Kenney, Pillar of St. William's in Euclid

The Plain Dealer today posted the obituary of Dick Kenney (Richard C. Kenney, Sr.), one of the pillars of the St. William's community and the city of Euclid. I have known of Dick since my cub scout years, the mid 1950s. I attended St. William's with his daughter Anne, and I knew his son Dick a bit. When I moved back to Euclid and St. William's in 1988, we were greeted by Dick and Anne, who still lived on Oriole near E.260th.

Dick and his wife Anne had nine children, 22 grand children, and 15 great grandchildren. Anne survives Dick; they both leave a legacy of family, church, and community. What else can you ask of a legacy?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New poem

The End of a World

More drama under the surface than we ever suspected:

She, so needy, needing him so much,
One fine fall day, so suddenly,
Yet so treacherously, meticulously planned
Down to the cute smile and wave goodbye
As he left for his three-day campout with his old buddies.

The house dog left to sh** all over the place,
The two outside hounds left without water or food for three days.
Money withdrawn from their joint bank account,
Letters sent to his brothers and sisters cataloging
All his sins, peculiarities, flaws.

But she didn’t mention her own peculiar sins.
That came out later:

The screaming rages,
Chasing him around the house with a huge wooden spoon,
Pummeling him on the head.

Physically ill, mentally ill
Or damaged by abuse from her own father
We don’t know cause and effect . . .
            But we see the bodies on the battlefield,
            The wounds, the injury,
            The desolation.